Happy 2023! We ended 2022 in rather uncertain times, with skyrocketing inflation, uncertainty in the stock markets, and doubts about the holiday season consumer spending. But despite it all, consumers still prove they like to shop online, spending a record-breaking $11.3 billion on Cyber Monday and $9.12 billion online during Black Friday. Even though brick and mortar stores are nearly back to their pre-pandemic volume, ecommerce is clearly here to stay. But in this post-COVID (can we say that yet?) world, things are going to be a bit different, with marked changes in consumer spending habits, expectations and values. Here’s what we see coming down the pipeline in 2023, and more importantly, what you can do to get ahead of the game:
We’re calling it now: social media is the next big thing in e-commerce. Social commerce might not be a new concept — it’s been soaring in China for the past few years while it’s been percolating in the background here in the US– but we predict it’s going to catch up in 2023, as customers’ trust factor kicks in and they get more comfortable and familiar with making purchases through the very platforms on which they often discover them: that’s right, Instagram and TikTok (does #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt ring a bell?)! While still a relatively small portion of the market in the US, social commerce is expected to grow to $80 billion by 2025 (and $1 trillion, globally), accounting for 5% of all e-commerce sales. So how can you prepare? This one’s simple: whether you’ve enabled social shopping yet or not, by getting more engaged with your customers on social media, you’ll be ready for them to take the plunge from window shopping to actual shopping. Using one of our loyalty program integrations (like the one we have with LoyaltyLion) is a great way to get started by offering incentives and rewards for your customers to get more engaged with your brand. Could this be the next phase of influencer marketing? We think so.
Community building goes hand in hand with social commerce — if you have one, you should have the other! Whether you start small with an army of advocates, or go big with an all-out ambassador program, creating a community out of your own customer base ensures a more authentic relationship, more brand affinity and by default, more brand engagement. And as we mentioned above, brand engagement is key for successful social commerce.
There’s no question, we live in a video-centric world. Whether it’s advertisements on a duratrans or content in your own social media feed — chances are, it’s video! While you could “put the blame on VCR” (IYKYK), in this case, it’s TikTok and Instagram, whose video-first approach has completely shifted the way we engage with content. And that also extends to ecommerce — with more emphasis and expectation placed on video, brands are engaging customers by utilizing video to both advertise and sell products online: enter video commerce. The benefits of using video merge everything customers want to see before converting: education, entertainment and inspiration. But before you think you need to hire a whole production crew, let’s roll it back: you don’t need super professional content, in fact, oftentimes UGC is more effective thanks to a more authentic representation. But don’t take our word for it — just ask our friends at Videowise:
“In 2023, ecommerce stores will rethink how they use video in their online stores. Interactive shoppable videos are a new way of selling products online through interactive content. Retailers and brands will feature videos that allow customers to purchase the products they see in the video with a single click without having to search for them elsewhere. Having said that, shoppable videos will likely become a mainstream ecommerce integration and an integral part of online businesses’ growth strategies. Videowise is a top performer in the category by delivering up to a +21% conversion uplift and a 10% uplift in RPS (revenue per session) thanks to features like advanced analytics, automation, omnichannel distribution and the ability to easily sync with Shopify.” — Claudiu Cioba, CEO at Videowise.com
We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far.
UGC + Social Proof
Going back to our roots — it all comes back to (or rather, starts with!) UGC. At the core of Gatsby’s functionality is the ability to track UGC from real customers. Why is it so important? It’s all about authenticity and trust. Consider this: the overwhelming majority of customers (a whopping 93%!) look to peer reviews prior to making a purchase. Not only that, images and videos far outperform written reviews (as we all know, a picture’s worth a thousand words). Whether in the form of a review or not, UGC is one of the most valuable pieces of media a brand can get. And in an especially crowded ecommerce marketplace, the ability for customers to quickly see and engage with UGC is sometimes all it takes to press “place order”.
If the term “sustainable shopping” isn’t already in your lexicon, get ready — it’s quickly becoming the next big thing in ecommerce. But what exactly is it? Thanks to more educated consumers, and a shift in values, shoppers are demanding much more transparency from their brands so they can make more environmentally and socially responsible purchasing decisions. How do they do this? By purchasing upcycled products, choosing reusable over disposable, and challenging brands on issues like greenwashing and transparency. And with Gen Z at the helm of this trend, it’s something brands can’t afford to ignore: they’ve already stated sustainability is more important than brand recognition. To meet this demand, brands can do things like use environmentally friendly packaging, find ways to make their products more sustainable (for example, by using upcycled fabrics), and offer greener shipping options.
Is it just us, or is email starting to feel a bit…old news? Email has long been the king of communication — and it’s certainly not going anywhere anytime soon — but the recent and rapid success of SMS marketing and improved chat functionality has opened the door to a new way to communicate with customers in real-time, especially when it comes to time sensitive things like flash sales, exclusive offers, new product drops and customer service issues. When done correctly, chat functionality offers immeasurable value to your brand, leading to more personalized customer interaction, easier conversions, and more loyal customers. And, thanks to automation, it can all be done rather simply. In fact — it’s something we feel so strongly about that we’re releasing our very own DM functionality allowing you to initiate automated responses via DM based on your customers tags and mentions! Stay tuned for more on this exciting update.
There’s no doubt about it, customers respond positively to personalization! It’s science: hearing your own name releases dopamine (the “feel-good hormone”) in the brain, making you feel happy, excited and trusting — even if you’re not aware of it. Well, the numbers prove it: an impressive 80% of customers are more likely to purchase from a brand that offers personalization. And the desire for personalization extends well beyond communication to the entire way in which customers interact with brands: they want customized experiences, content, offers and products. While that may sound like a lot, it’s easy to achieve when pairing Gatsby Rebuy (one our newest integrations). “Using Rebuy and Gatsby together creates a strong personalized experience for your customers. Connecting with creators and ambassadors they can trust, then sending them to a personally tailored store just for them leads to a huge boost in conversion rate.” — James Van Erck, Co-Founder at Rebuy.